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Police around the world arrested more than 800 people in a vast sting operation where suspects were tricked into using a messaging app controlled by the FBI.

Officers from 20 countries convinced suspected criminals that they could correspond safely on special devices loaded with the ANOM app, officials said Tuesday.

However, the supposedly-encrypted system was actually passing every message to police, who used the material to apprehend a vast number of people.

According to a Europol summary of the operation, those arrested are accused of moving cocaine, cannabis and firearms.

Police seized 55 luxury vehicles and more than $48 million in various currencies as part of the operation, Europol said. 

Operation Ironside, as it is known, was jointly devised by the FBI and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the AFP said in a statement Tuesday. Police forces in 20 countries cooperated since 2019 in spreading the app amongst suspected criminals, Europol said.

Calvin Shivers, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said: “Encrypted criminal communications platforms have traditionally been a tool to evade law enforcement and facilitate transnational organized crime.”

The catch? ANOM was developed by the FBI, which could read every word being transmitted. Law enforcement agencies used informants to hand …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Technology


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